John 8: 1, 29; 16: 20-24
Isaiah 65: 17-19
John 15: 9-11
NJH We had an extraordinary sense of joy coming into the service of God this morning. One line of a hymn we sang was,
Abiding peace, joy ne’er to fade away
It confirmed the impression of how the Lord presented Himself. I thought we would see that there is a basis for our joy; it is not natural joy. In one scripture it is “my joy”, the joy of the Lord. There are scriptures that refer to the joy of divine Persons and they want us to enter into it.
The first scripture we read helps us to see where the Lord’s pleasure and joy lay; it was with His Father. As presented in this scripture, He had no joy here: He was “despised and left alone of men”. In Psalms 69: 8, He is referred to as becoming “a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s sons”. He looked for comforters and there were none, Psalm 69: 20. It was a life that was bereft of what man lives in. And yet there was a fulness of joy that lay between Himself and His Father that could not be disturbed; there was a joy there. I thought Isaiah 53 might help on that.
In John 8 the Lord goes to the Mount of Olives and then He says, “And he that has sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, because I do always the things that are pleasing to him”. He had a joy there that was special and was not disturbed by all the hatred and animosity that was heaped upon Him.
The other scriptures read are the basis of us entering into joy. John 16 is that a man is born into the world; that is the basis of joy. In Isaiah 65 the joy is on the basis of new creation really; what God has done: there is joy linked with new creation. And I thought finally, it is in keeping His commandments that there is joy. You can see there is a real new basis for joy; how extensive it is.
JS It is very good to think of the Lord’s joy in His relations with the Father.
NJH Yes, we often go over it, but He grew up before Him. His mother pondered things in her heart (Luke 2: 19), but she did not know the development of that precious life that drew nothing from the surroundings in which it was, however much she was given from God to care for the Child. There was a relationship and a life that was outside of that natural realm. The Lord says in John, in relation to the wine being deficient, “woman”, chap 2: 4. Evidently the spiritual is superior to the natural, and if there is going to be spiritual joy there has to be the change in us. I know men were given to Him out of the world (chap 17: 6), that is a different account, but the way it is presented here there was no joy here for Christ.
GBG “He shall grow up before him”; does that mean God was His object? He had joy in God being the One before Him. As “a root out of dry ground” God was His resource.
NJH So you might say reverentially the sap was from God; it is a tender sapling.
GBG And in what He received from God to convey to others, He had the first joy; then He passed it on to others.
NJH Yes. We say reverentially, the Father must have looked at how Christ received what He gave, “the glory … I have given” (John 17: 22), He must have got from the Father. The Father must have witnessed the joy that the Lord had as receiving everything from Him.
JS He was going to the Mount of Olives, and then the second reference to how He had pleased the Father, “he has not left me alone”, would indicate that this must be taken up spiritually for ourselves, do you think?
NJH That is right; that is the only way we can come into it. We have no part in this joy without the work of God taking place. That is why I read first of all about a man being born, and then, of course, new creation. Unless God creates something in our souls we will know nothing of the depth of this joy. Natural joy does not abide, but this joy abides. We are going to leave one another, and we have enjoyed seeing the brethren; we can say we love the brethren: is the joy going to continue? The joy will continue if we are held in our relations with God.
RG-y We are not told much about the Lord’s life before He came out in service, but do you think this joy you are speaking of would extend into His private years with the Father? You get some inkling of it in the Psalms.
NJH Yes. It is clear that the thirty years must have been full of His joy in His relationship with the Father. He does say, “did you not know that I must be occupied with my Father’s business?” (Luke 2: 49); but it was His business. He was in the tender, blessed relationship to His Father. Conscious sonship was His joy.
RG-y So when Jesus appears at the time of His baptism the Father says, “in thee I have found my delight”, Luke 3: 22. There was something there already.
NJH Yes, that is good. In other words, it was a backward look: He could say that after all these years. It was for God first, and then it was presented to men as He does after the anointing, but before that He was entirely for the pleasure of His Father.
JTB Does Psalm 21: 6 help: “thou hast filled him with joy by thy countenance”? I was just following on the remark that has been made about the uninterrupted disposition between the Father and the Son, and the uninterrupted relationship which exists between the two Persons; there was fulness of joy.
NJH Yes; it says, “For thou hast made him to be blessings for ever; thou hast filled him with joy by thy countenance.” He knew that in these thirty years. You might say, ’What could His mother take in?’. She could witness to the perfection, and that was contributive to the Acts; that was a treasure that was brought into the assembly (chap 1), but what was God’s portion, the Father’s portion? In becoming Man He takes the place of Son; that was uniquely with the Father, which must have been infinite joy. You cannot measure it. And it is that quality of joy that we are intended to come into; He says, “that my joy may be in you”, John 15: 11.
JAB Would it be right to think that the Lord Jesus still has joy in His relationships with His Father? You are not talking about what is historical are you?
NJH No, it never ceases. From what we sang it will abide; it says, ‘Abiding peace, joy ...’; that is what we come into, but it was always with Christ. His joy is in the presence of the Father at this moment.
JAB And when He goes there in the service of God, and brings a praising company of sons, we have joy; but much more important is the Father’s joy in Him, and His continuing joy leading that praise to the Father. What you are speaking about has never stopped, and will never stop for all eternity.
NJH And nothing will interrupt it; nothing. And I think there is a suggestion in Isaiah 65 of joy in new creation, and that is eternal.
DBR It is a root out of dry ground. I wondered if the matter as to mingling would come into it. He was not relying on the dry ground; there was that in the Lord that was mingled with oil. No doubt the reference is to the energy of the Spirit, the manhood of Christ: would that be what sustained the Lord in His joy, do you think?
NJH The mingling was from the beginning; it is that order of manhood, the flour, mingled with oil, Lev 2: 4. That remained: the anointing later did not change Christ. It changes us, it changes how we appear, whether it is in the power of the Spirit or otherwise, but with Him it was perfect; the mingling was there.
DBR In that sense He was not dependent on what was round about Him. His Father’s joy, His joy in the Father’s relationship, this inward character of things marked the humanity of Christ; a tender sapling. I thought it might link with the thought of the mingling.
NJH I am sure that helps. You get a sense that this life was wholly independent of anything surrounding Him, it was perfection in itself and did not become affected by the hardness around it, the unresponsive stony ground as it were; dry ground is unresponsive. You cannot do much with dry ground, but here the mingling is there; there is energy in the Spirit.
IMS Was it a life of faith? That would have entered into those thirty years.
NJH Yes, He is the Leader and Completer of faith. But in these early years you see the Father and the Son in holy relationship together, causing each other immense joy. I am not saying faith was not there, for He is viewed as the Leader and Completer of it.
IMS It says, “The lines have fallen unto me in pleasant places”, Psalm 16: 6. Was that part of what we are speaking of?
NJH The Lord Jesus ’had His own blessed life with the Father, outside the path of dependence and subjection and responsibility which He had assumed here’, JT vol 8 p7. His acceptance of what the pathway placed on Him was marked by faith. We are placed in a certain environment to act in faith. But I have got a feeling here that it was a life that was peculiarly set out as we have said already, as to conscious sonship, and that is blessed.
JAG Do we get a glimpse of it when He was twelve years old? He was content to remain behind in Jerusalem, and they marvelled at the intelligent answers that He could give them, Luke 2: 47. All that would relate to the mingling.
NJH Yes, exactly. He listened, hearing and asking them; He did not interrupt or speak first; the grace of Christ was shown at that age. But it was conscious sonship. The questions were answered, but the teachers could not contribute; the dry ground was still there. The teachers in Jerusalem could not contribute to the preciousness of this life as it stood with the Father.
JD Do you think what we are speaking about is in any sense what we read about last night, “for my yoke is easy”, Matt 11: 30? I always wondered why the Lord should say that when His path was so difficult, but what we referred to is the joy He had with His relationships with the Father which was always undisturbed, do you think?
NJH Yes, the yoke must involve restriction. For Him it was a pleasure to be restricted. It is that we should take on His yoke; what He wore we should wear; it is as simple as that. But with us that involves that our will is to be broken to do that. He had no will in that way; it was the Father’s will that dominated. So it shows a different type of manhood that we are talking about.
GAB The fact that these thirty years are largely unrecorded has its own meaning for us. It is something that we cannot fully enter into; it was something between the Father and Himself.
NJH Yes. The first right is the Father’s portion for Himself from that life, and nevertheless His life is set out in some way as an example to us. We must have our quiet periods in our life. The young people are under tremendous stress with school and employment, but we must have our quiet times in our life, and I think that is vital in the pathway of faith. But here it is just the delight that the Father had in a man here in conscious sonship, and a relationship that could not be disturbed.
DTP It is very blessed that the greater part of the Lord’s life is unknown, but there is particular joy for the Father and for the Spirit, and also for angelic hosts. They were aware of what was proceeding, but there was something distinctly special for the Father and the Spirit.
NJH John the baptist had to be hidden from Israel: “he was in the desert until the days of his shewing to Israel”, Luke 1: 80. But this relationship that the Son was in with the Father was impossible to intrude into. This was a relationship that stood in its integrity and preciousness.
RT Did He not bring this joy in with Him when He came into the world? The whole heavenly host was affected by seeing Someone who had come into this world bringing joy and peace with Him. The angel says, “I announce to you glad tidings of great joy”, Luke 2: 10. It was as if they saw a new dispensation opening up at the incoming of this Person.
NJH That is what we will come to when a man is born; there is a new development. I think what you say is good. The angels anticipated something that was absent everywhere else. There was a new change in the creation and He who was coming into the creation was the Creator Himself.
JDG They all went to their own homes; the Lord went to the Mount of Olives. He searched out that area where His joy could be full.
NJH That is so. He spent the night there, and in the morning He came back. He went to the Mount of Olives, and then “early in the morning he came again into the temple”, John 8: 2.
JDG He went to that area which He really drew His satisfaction from.
NJH His manhood was sustained by that relationship, and that is extraordinary. How could Moses, a man of like passions as ourselves, be sustained forty days up the mount? Well, God can do it! Think how much more a life of thirty years sustained. He went up the Mount of Olives, and early in the morning He came again, He was sustained in that relationship with His Father.
QAP At the moment He died, He said, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit”, Luke 23: 46.
NJH Yes; that is Luke’s account. But the work of atonement still had to be fulfilled, and involved the burial, the putting out of God’s sight vicariously the man that could not be in communion and in the joy of heaven. In His burial He had to remove every man that could not please God, and could not enter into the joy of the Father. He has introduced a new order of man; even at the incarnation heaven was astir, the angels knew, Someone was coming in. The angels knew how men live, and their desperation, lack of joy, sorrow and everything; and here is Someone coming, and He brings the joy into the creation in Himself.
JAG What do you say about the fact that He endured the cross, ”in view of the joy lying before him ... having despised the shame”, Heb 12: 2? He is going to exercise the priesthood which is a very blessed thing for Him. Then, of course, we could say He is going into final conditions in the full substantiality of it.
NJH Well, certain things we have to separate carefully in our minds, as you know. For instance, in the temptations, in Mark 1: 12, He is driven by the Spirit; which brings out His holy nature. In Luke 4: 1 He is led, showing submission, “led by the Spirit into the wilderness”, in submission in obedience to the will of the Father. And then in Matthew 4: 1 He is carried. It brings out the holy perfection of what was involved in the will of God for Him. “Jesus was carried up into the wilderness by the Spirit to be tempted of the devil” shows the power of the Spirit behind it. But it was all in the will of God to go through and endure that. Even in that His perfection stood, because He was true to the joy and the relationship He had with His Father. It could not be breached.
JAG Does that bear on the joy that was set before Him?
NJH Yes, that would be anticipative of others coming into it. The difference between the disciples in the Acts and what they were in the gospels is quite marked, because there was something of the joy entering into their souls after Jesus was raised. His anticipated joy would include the assembly.
JAG He endured the cross and all the awfulness that that meant, because of the joy that was set before Him; the joy must be something tremendous.
NJH Yes, exactly, because of the awfulness that lay in that matter in the cross, the awfulness of it, and of going into the grave.
CKR Would the joy set before Him also connect with His glorification? The sentence in Hebrews 12 goes on from what He endured to “is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”, v 2. Therefore in His holy emotions and feelings He would long for that position, where the joy could be enjoyed on a new basis because redemption and everything has been accomplished.
NJH Exactly. He entered into it, and then we are brought into it. Yes, that is very helpful. The joy of it meant that others were going to come into it, otherwise we would be everlastingly out of the presence of God.
JAG Would it bear then on the fact that He was going to be the great Accomplisher for the whole purpose of God?
NJH Yes, it would. The joy of everything that was in the heart of God would be secured, but the cross stood in the way, and that is sobering. But, just for the moment, in Isaiah 53 and in John 8, it is what He was in His life here: these thirty three and a half years of perfection, and that blessed humanity sustained by the Father’s joy as well as His own.
PM Would it be right to say that the cross and the shame were accorded to Him by man, but He was working out with God what would be for the Father’s pleasure, so that sons should come in, men should come in, to enjoy relationships with His Father and have that relationship as their own?
NJH Yes, that helps. What man awarded was the cross, and “men appointed his grave with the wicked, but he was with the rich in his death”, Isaiah 53: 9. But He had to go through with that, and He comes out of death and says, “my Father and your Father”, John 20: 17. That must have been expressed with supreme joy.
PM He had so much enjoyed that relationship personally, and we do not exactly enter into that, but He was going to bring men in to enjoy what it was to have joy in the relationship that He had with the Father. How wonderful that must have been to the heart of Christ.
NJH That is very blessed, because He participated in that relationship that we come into according to purpose: He came into sonship. That is the level. We have got to see that there is what is peculiar between the Father and the Son, and the joy relating to it, but we are brought into something of the joy of it. It is not a lower joy; it is spiritual joy.
DCB Do we get some sense of the joy in John 17? He had joy in speaking to the Father, and hearing from the Father, but then He can say, “the glory which thou hast given me I have given them” (verse 22) as our introduction also into that same joy and relationship.
NJH And “that they may be one”. It must be by the Spirit; so He has got a whole wealth of thoughts, relationships, and persons in His mind in what He does. I think the joy lies in that whole area. I think John 17 is a very good example. He spoke to His Father with joy.
JBI I was just thinking of how Isaiah 53 speaks of how “we esteemed him not”. A change has to come about in our souls as to what is truly for God. I was thinking of how the cross meets it all, does it not?
NJH Yes, Isaiah 53 is the expression of the remnant. You may say that the remnant will come up to something, but even they had to say that there was “no beauty that they would desire Him”; by nature there is nothing. The Lord does not minister to nature as such. He did consider for the bodies of men; He did heal illnesses amongst men and raise the dead, but what He sets out is a whole order of life in which nature has no part. So we have to say that we were the same, “we esteemed him not”; we did not appreciate what was in Christ, and then God operated. And I think that is what we come to in Isaiah 65, that God creates, He works something out, and that is where joy comes out in the soul.
RDP I was just thinking how the temptations were very subtle because it says, “by these things men live”, Isa 38: 16. The thought of bread and all these things God would give to Him. And then that third one which really represented something that was taking man right out of God’s hands, but His recourse was immediately to God. So I was just thinking of the temptations: the devil’s attack really aimed at that, this side of things.
NJH Yes, it did. Jesus was in conscious sonship during the temptations. At that time He was in conscious sonship. We need to preserve the truth that He went through in perfection. He was made sin on our account. But in His suffering He was perfect. We have got to fall on our faces before such a holy matter, when His soul was made an offering for sin. Up to that point He was in conscious sonship, and whatever He met, assailed by the devil and by men, did not affect His relationship with God. Otherwise we are going to fall in to the problem that came in at the beginning of the recovery.
RT Mr Darby says,
Sonship, in conscious nature,
His words and ways declare.
(Spiritual Songs p32)
It is what you are saying; it is exemplified in His words and in His ways, but there was a nature there that was entirely different.
NJH Thank you; that is a great help to me. You can see that we are to preserve that precious life otherwise we will get mixed up. It is only on the cross that He suffered for sin, and there was the forsaking of God and the darkness, and that is the truth that we stand on. Before that whatever men did, nailing Him to the cross and all that man did to Him, and accusations, and the temptations of the devil, did not affect Christ’s enjoyment of His relationship with His Father.
GBG And for Christians, Christian responsibility is carried out in the enjoyment of our relationship with divine Persons, relationship with the Father; it is not the other way round. Christ is a model for us in that. All Christian responsibility is carried out in the enjoyment of relationship.
NJH Quite so. We should look at John 16 as to a man being born. He says, “ye will be grieved, but your grief shall be turned to joy. A woman, when she gives birth to a child, has grief because her hour has come; but when the child is born, she no longer remembers the trouble, on account of the joy that a man has been born into the world”. Is that not wonderful?
JCG There is the well known quotation, “weeping cometh for the night, and at morn there is rejoicing”, Ps 30: 5. Is there a sense in which the sorrow is limited? It is defined and confined in that sense, but there is no sense in which the morning is limited is there?
NJH This is really a new start. A man born into the world is a new start.
PAG I was just wondering if there was a connection between the joy between the Father and the Son and the fact that God anointed Him with the oil of gladness above His companions, Psalm 45: 7. So He says, “I do always the things that are pleasing to him”.
NJH Yes, that is a good scripture, we are coming through to that, and what has been referred to, not only His resurrection, but His ascension. He has now secured a company where He can be anointed with the oil of gladness above His companions. You can see how this joy is going to permeate. It is going to permeate the circle. We had a sense of that this morning. The joy was permeating the circle and it was expressed throughout the occasion. I thought it was quite remarkable that there was a depth of joy that the world cannot take from you and they cannot give it. They will attempt to replace it. The young people and all of us need to remember that.
JAG Joy is, and it is often claimed that it is, the consciousness of divine approbation. There was no honey in the oblation, and if the Lord supports us it is His power, and it is the blessedness of knowing that you are in the favour of God; is that right?
NJH You can understand the reference to a man born; it says “but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one takes from you”. And then He brings in the thought of asking. They had not asked in His name, but He says, “Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give you”, and then He says “Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name: ask and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”. It shows how you have got a new pathway, new approval.
JAG So all heaven is available to you.
NJH Yes, a new order of things; because a man has been born into the world.
JW Would this scripture bear on how it is worked out in the disciples; a man shall have been born into the world? It is seen in the Acts: even when they were persecuted, they were marked by joy.
NJH Yes, they were. In that sense the man being born was going to be the result in these disciples of the Lord, the effect of it.
JW I was just wondering if we could apply it to ourselves. There is much sorrow among the saints, but do you think the Lord has in mind that something should be reached in our souls which would be of this character?
NJH Yes, I am glad you spoke of that because there are a lot of hearts going through deep waters just now, and much bodily illness, and we should keep it very real in our minds that there is going to be a result from it, that it should not affect our relations or our joy with the Lord and with the Father, but that we are on our faces. Not only that we can ask the Father, but He says now that they can ask in His name: “Hitherto ye have asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”.
JDG Should we ask in His Name? It is a new thought, a new beginning. I think the Father counts that Name so precious He must respond to the request. If we ask in His Name it brings in that blessed Man who has secured everything for God. Go into His presence and ask Him in His Name.
NJH That is good. It brings the whole system so close. It is a mediatorial system. They had walked three and a half years with Him and now He is leaving them and He says, ’Ask in my Name, hitherto you have not asked’; “ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”. How the Lord was available to them.
RHB I was just thinking that in the first scripture that you read the Lord is actually spoken of as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief”, is He not? And the sorrows that He encountered He felt in a deeper way than any, but they did not interfere with His joy. Is that the point you are making: there was a relationship that was unaffected by that, although the sorrows were deeply felt?
NJH “Man of sorrows” is a very touching description of the Lord, is it not? “Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” But all along that perfect life there was a holy joy in relationship with His Father. As our brother has said, there is sorrow and pressure amongst us. Well, it should not disturb our relations with God; or our relationships together; that is important. “Ask in my name” (John 14: 31); “ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”.
RHB And He said prophetically, did He not, “To do thy good pleasure, my God, is my delight”, Psalm 40: 8? That really spans the whole of His life.
MCW I was just looking at this verse 22: “but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one takes from you”.
NJH Is that not wonderful?
MCW Wonderful indeed! He does not only say that they would see Him again (John 16: 19), but “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice”. It is joy in coming to His own, and suddenly the whole picture is changed, the grief is gone, and we have joy.
NJH That confirms what has already been said, and what we had this morning: the Lord had joy as coming in, and He shared joy with us. “I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice”; that is a good touch.
DBR “I will see you again”: the whole potential is reached. It is not exactly a man child: it says, “the child is born”, and then following it says, “on account of the joy that a man has been born”. Think of what it must mean to the Lord’s heart when He sees some potential realised, and some maturity, do you think, developed amongst the saints? The pressures would bring about maturity if we are with God. God will bring about maturity: a man will be born.
NJH Yes, that is good. A man is born. Manhood in the Acts in the twelve is quite different from what the disciples were in the gospels: they were men. The Lord is pleased to refer to men, but here it is manhood.
DBR A man shall be born; it would really be manhood taking on the features of Christ.
NJH Yes. He would see men when He came in there in John 20; He saw men there after Himself. He could breathe into them, the life of that man, characterising manhood in the saints. The joy that lay before Him included manhood in the saints. The joy is in seeing men; a man born.
RT In our experience would this be like the prodigal returning? The robe is brought out, the ring and the shoes, the house door open to us. I was just thinking of the joy of the Father, and the joy of the son. It is not just our sins forgiven, but in our experience we come into the embrace, Luke 15.
NJH Yes, that is good, and they began to make merry; it did not end. It shows that things are meant to continue in this order or things.
JCG Do you think that the Lord is pointing the way in His lifting up His eyes to the Father? We are preserved in relation to communion with divine Persons. The Lord speaks about His peace; we maintain that as we have relations with Christ and the Father and the Spirit. “These things Jesus spoke, and lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, Father”, chap 17: 1. It brings out that He is pointing the way.
NJH Yes, they heard Him saying that. There were only three taken up on the mount of transfiguration - that was a special privilege given - and when He went forward at Gethsemane, but here they must all have heard this prayer; wonderful matter!
DBR Going on to Isaiah, do you think we need to see that the Spirit works according to the pattern of new creation? He does not refine our flesh; He does not refine our nature: it is manhood according to God. That really involves the principle of new creation, do you think?
NJH Yes, it is the very figure that is used; “on account of the joy that a man has been born into the world” would mean that there it is a new order that is started.
DBR “So if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation”, 2 Cor: 5: 17.
NJH Yes, it is a new order.
JAG “I count myself happy, King Agrippa”, Acts 26: 2; is it an example of the Lord’s joy coming through in persons?
NJH Yes, Paul was happy.
JAG He wanted everybody to be happy.
NJH Yes; I think he was conscious of his relationship with the Lord and with the Father at that very moment, so that he wanted everyone else to be as he, “without these bonds”, v 29.
RH Would this joy relate to “the old corn of the land”, Josh 5: 11? It is in relation to Christ in His own circumstances.
NJH Yes, it gives you a sense it has been there long before you; “the old corn of the land” was there before you got into the land, and there is a joy in that: you partake of that new food. Joy is needed to be sustained. So much comes in on Monday morning, things come in, but we do not want that joy interrupted. The Lord shared His joy with us this morning; that is what we felt.
IP I was thinking of that verse in the next chapter: it is “my joy fulfilled in them”, verse 13.
NJH The Lord’s joy was fulfilled in us this morning.
IP I was thinking about that, the joy in which the Lord Jesus was received. We are to enter into something of that joy, are we not?
NJH Yes, then there is the Father’s joy; He would want to share His joy that He finds in Christ, would He not? The Father would say, ’I am enjoying Christ so much I want you to come into that joy’. It is wonderful that divine Persons want us to enjoy what they are enjoying, and to enter into it.
RJC The Lord says “your heart shall rejoice”; is it a deep inward joy? Earthly joy plays on the natural emotions of men, but this is a settled joy, “your heart shall rejoice”.
NJH Yes, that is good; it is the seat of pure affections that He is referring to. It is not the lusts, and everything that marks man after the flesh: it is purified affections, and it is the heart that is affected.
RDP There is joy in relation to a Christian’s life. For instance, having occasions like this can be very exhilarating, but there is an outward character to them, but what we have been speaking about is joy fulfilled in them. Circumstances wax and wane and change; even our bodies change, but this joy means that no circumstance can touch it. I liked what our brother said, “my joy fulfilled in them”.
NJH Yes, that is good. I have thought a lot about these elder brethren that have been buried recently in this area. They have finished their course in the testimony, and that was valuable. They were sustained while the outward was weakening; the inward was renewed day by day. Joy has to be maintained, and I think consciousness of a relationship with divine Persons will give us a shining; oil causes the face to shine, Ps 104: 15. There is a joy you have got that the world cannot give.
JCG It comes out as a steady influence in the face of the troubles that many young people meet in relation to employment, business and other pressures. Habakkuk brings it out:
Though the labour of the olive-tree shall fail,
And the fields yield no food,
it goes on -
Yet I will rejoice in Jehovah,
I will joy in the God of my salvation,
chap 3: 17, 18.
That is a person who is in the light of new creation, and is bearing it, is it not?
NJH Yes, Habakkuk is a good scripture to refer to. If everything is lost materially it does not affect what he has got in his relations with God.
Now we should go on to Isaiah 65. It says, “But be glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create”.
JAG Is what we are speaking about what is called eternal life?
NJH Yes, you are really living in the love of God in eternal life. You are enjoying it; you are actually enjoying it. Every other life is spoiled, it is broken into; the value of it is so much lost. But the real thing, eternal life, is something you are enjoying with God.
JAG He is eternal life.
NJH Yes He is. “The true God and eternal life” (1 John 5: 20), both in Christ. Here it is, “But be glad and rejoice … in that which I create”. Then it says, “For behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy”. Has not the recovery effected something very precious? We sit down together and speak things over, and think of what has entered into the exercises of those that have gone before, especially of what we might call the fathers of the recovery. They went through deep exercises, and we have been recovered to the truth. It should be a joy to us. How can you give it up? God says, “For behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy”. And the truth belongs to all, and all should walk in its light.
JW Does what you say bring out that God Himself rejoices in it. We can rejoice in what God is rejoicing in. This is our work, is it?
NJH Exactly, He says “I will rejoice over Jerusalem”; that is after He says “I create Jerusalem”. “I will rejoice over Jerusalem, and will joy in my people; and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying”. What a place Jerusalem is going to be in a day to come.
JW There is something in the assembly now.
NJH Yes, that is right; we value our links together; we are created, God’s workmanship. I think we need to look at these things. In the working out of exercises we can lose the thought that we are actually God’s workmanship, and if our wills come in we need to help one another, so that these things cease, and we are brought under subjection to Christ. I just like this thought, “I will rejoice over Jerusalem”.
RT Does it culminate in “the joy of the bridegroom over the bride”, Isa 62: 5?
NJH Yes, that is a good.
RT His heart was satisfied. We spoke about the joy that was lying before Him, but His heart was satisfied, and Jerusalem is created and rejoicing as well, is it not?
NJH Yes, what a place it will be in a world to come. Think of the centuries: Jerusalem razed to the ground and attacked, and there has been no peace there for centuries really.
MCW There is a lovely touch in Nehemiah, God had made them to rejoice: “And the joy of Jerusalem was heard even afar off”, Neh 12: 43.
NJH That is a good reference; joy is there. That is a testimony to put out because it is God that has given you the joy. It is not created by man or associations of men; it is God that has put that joy into your heart because He is rejoicing Himself.
RG-y Do you think these thoughts should have some place in our minds at the Supper, and in the service of God. We get a definite lift, a touch of quickening in our own souls, and a sense of rejoicing. Do you think we should look for impressions that come up that cause joy to God’s heart? I was thinking of Genesis when God surveyed His creation; it says, “behold it was very good”, Gen 1: 31. That was rejoicing for His heart, do you think?
NJH Yes, it means everything to God. I think if He comes in and sees a very full expression of what He has done as creating anew; it must cause joy to the heart of God.
RG-y Because we think of our own joy, we constantly have to remind ourselves we should think of what is pleasing to God. If we set out more actively to consider that do you think it would be a help?
NJH I think it would.
In John 15 it says, “If ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have spoken these things to you that my joy may be in you, and your joy be full”. I thought to close with a touch, that it is based on the commandments. The Lord kept His commandments; that is where joy lay for Christ: He was entirely pleasurable to the Father. And we come in: “If ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love”, and then it says, “your joy be full”.
JS I have been thinking of the lines of the hymn writer:
Yet deeper, if a calmer, joy
The Father’s love shall raise
I was thinking of what it says here about keeping His Father’s commandments and abiding in His love. As we are preserved in this order of things, we will be kept in the sense of the Father’s love, do you think?
NJH Yes, ‘deeper, if a calmer, joy’: I like that. Yes, it is kept in His love. “Ye shall abide in my love”, He says, “as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love”. It shows the moral basis there is for this joy. It shows that if we follow that, we will not lose the joy.
RHB Could you say something as to “my Father’s commandments” and then “my commandments”? What does that refer to?
NJH We spoke about being ‘in the Lord’. We are to be subject to the Lord; we should keep His commandments. But the Lord keeping the Father’s commandments I would think is a wider thought, but I would like help.
RDP There are things in the Lord’s life that drew out the Father’s love. You quoted the scripture, “On this account my Father loves me, because I lay down my life ...”, John 10: 17. And then earlier He speaks of His Father, does He not? But there seems to be that side of things. He speaks in chapter 5, “Verily, verily, I say to you, The Son can do nothing of himself save whatever he sees the Father doing: … for whatever things he does, these things also the Son does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son and shews him all things which he himself does”, v 18, 19. I wondered about the Father’s commandments; perhaps, we think of the commandment as something that is written down, like the ten commandments, but there seems to be something in the manner and life of Jesus, in relation to the Father that drew out the Father’s love.
NJH Yes, that would be so. I am glad you referred to that scripture, it was somewhat in mind. He said, “I have received this commandment of my Father”, John 10: 18. That was as to laying down His life and to taking it again, and that is why I thought it was wider; it is something to think about.
GAB He said prophetically, “He wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear”, Isaiah 50: 4. There was something every day that He received from the Father.
NJH In John 11, He waited in the place for two days did He not? That would be in keeping with His Father’s commandments. He had not the direction to move. Every move was as subject to the Father.
8th April 2012